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The Ultimate Guide To HIIT

435 Comments | Training

HIIT workout routine

Alright, I can’t stand it anymore.

My mind is about to fucking explode.

I’m so sick and tired of seeing these incredibly overweight people slave away on the treadmill day after day in hopes of losing weight.

It’s a god damn epidemic and it needs to end now!

But if people continuously insist on working the treadmill, they might as well start doing something that actually gets them results. And yes, I’m talking about HIIT.

This article will be your ultimate guide to HIIT – what it is and how you can start using it to build your dream body in less time than ever.

An overview of HIIT

What is HIIT?

And no, despite what everyone thinks, HIIT doesn’t stand for  Herpes, Is It Tight?

HIIT stand for High Intensity Interval Training and it’s basically a form of exercise that alternates periods of high intensity exercise such as sprinting with less intense periods of exercise such as walking.

So for example, a HIIT workout routine might have you doing 30 seconds of sprinting, followed by 90 seconds of rest.

Pretty simple, right?

How long do HIIT workouts last?

Due to the extremely intense nature of HIIT workouts, they typically never last for more than 20 minutes. An effective HIIT workout can actually be done in about 10-12 minutes if you structure it correctly.

Do I need a treadmill to do HIIT?

No, it’s possible to do HIIT on any cardio machine such as an elliptical, stair master, bike, or rowing machine but HIIT tends to be most effective on the treadmill. You can even do HIIT outside without any equipment if you want.

How often can I do a HIIT workout?

I typically recommend people to do HIIT right after their weight lifting session. I’m not a huge fan of doing HIIT on non-weight lifting days since I like to keep those days 100% rest days.

How often can I do HIIT?

Limit your HIIT workouts to no more than 3x per week. Don’t try to do more, especially if you’re doing heavy lifting since this will more than likely lead to overtraining.

Do I need to do HIIT to lose fat?

No, HIIT or any type of cardio is definitely not necessary to lose fat. When trying to lose fat, the most important thing to do is to create a calorie deficit and perform some sort of resistance training to preserve muscle mass.

Benefits of HIIT

Well, let’s see:

  • You no longer have to slave away on the treadmill for 60 minutes at a time.
  • Because HIIT is an anaerobic activity like weight lifting, it will actually help you preserve muscle mass.
  • You boost HGH levels, which help you burn fat and preserve muscle.
  • It mimics real life situations where you actually perform short intense bursts of activity. Because seriously, in what real life situation would you have to run 3 miles?
  • HIIT actually shapes and tones your lower body quite nicely. For those who have very bulky looking legs, HIIT can act as a nice substitute for direct leg exercises.

Disadvantages of HIIT

Like all good things in life, there are unfortunately some downsides to doing HIIT.

  • This is not a workout for lazy people. If you’re going to do HIIT, then you can’t half-ass it. If you’re told sprint for 30 seconds, then you better perform an all out sprint for 30 seconds (For help, imagine yourself being chased by a cheetah).
  • HIIT can definitely impair recovery. This is not a workout that you can do every day. If you do HIIT every day, then you could be looking into some serious overtraining problems.
  • Also, if you’re doing a super low calorie diet, I definitely don’t recommend HIIT.
High intensity interval training workout

My 2 favorite HIIT approaches

There are countless variation of HIIT, each with varying work to rest ratios.

Below, I have listed my 2 favorite HIIT approaches:

Approach #1 – 30 seconds work, 90 seconds rest

The first time I ever did HIIT, this was the approach I used. To do this workout, do the following:

  1. Get on a treadmill and perform a light warm-up by doing a fast walk/light walk for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Slightly increase the incline to about 1.5.
  3. Amp up the intensity on the treadmill so that you performing an ALL OUT sprint for 30 seconds.
  4. Decrease the intensity so that you’re back to a walking pace. Walk for 90 seconds.
  5. Repeat steps three and four 7-10 times.

Approach #2 – Stop and go method (15 seconds work, 10 seconds rest)

This is another approach with HIIT that I’ve been experitmenting with lately, and it’s quickly becoming my “go to” HIIT routine. This approach to interval training is a bit more unconventional but it’s definitely effective.

Also, this approach can only be done on a treadmill.

  1. Get on a treadmill and perform a light warm-up by doing a fast walk/light jog for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Slightly increase the incline to about 1.5.
  3. Jump to the sides of the treadmill (the parts that aren’t moving) and set the intensity to a point where you’ll be doing an ALL OUT SPRINT.
  4. Jump back onto the belt and sprint for 15 seconds. When jumping back on the belt, make sure you hold the railings at first. Remember, the treadmill is moving EXTREMELY fast, so hold the railings.
  5. Jump back to the sides and make sure you hold the railings. Rest for 10 seconds
  6. Repeat steps four and five for 10-12 minutes.

Make sure you’re progressing over time

HIIT is just like weight lifting – you need to continuously progress.

Doing the same workout day in and day out isn’t going to benefit you. Every time you do a HIIT workout, you need to try your best to progress forward.

This means increasing the speed, increasing the incline, increasing the total amount of sprints done, or decreasing the rest time. As long as each workout is slightly harder than the next, then you’re good to go.

Stop running, start HIIT-ing

Look, I’m not saying that traditional running is completely useless. It’s just not the magic pill that everyone makes it out to be.

I mean, there are situations where running is better than HIIT (e.g. training for a marathon), but most people do endless amounts of running in hopes of losing weight and in that case, running isn’t the best solution.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have on HIIT in the comments below and if you guys found this article helpful please consider “liking” an sharing it with your friends.

P.S. Rusty Moore just came out with a new cardio workout program called Visual Impact Cardio. I normally don’t like to push products too much on my site, but this is honestly the best complete cardio workout to help you lose weight right now. It combines both HIIT and low intensity cardio in strategic ways to help you get in the best shape of your life.

Visual Impact Cardio review

V - September 19, 2017

Hey there 🙂

Ive recently discovered hiit workouts and I’m just wondering if doing only hiit 3/4 times a week is good for weight loss / maintaining weight? or do I need to be doing More? I do a bit of yoga on top of my hiits but that’s it really as I’m quite busy with work.

Xx

Reply
    Keith - September 19, 2017

    Depends on the workouts and your experience level. You can definitely do 3-4x per week. But if you’re just starting out, I would start with 1-2x and work up.

    Reply
Kate - August 28, 2017

Hi, I’ve recently lost about 3 stone and I’m starting to incorporate hiit training into my schedule as per advice from a friend (I usually do some sortve intervals on the treadmill but not this high intensity). I don’t usually lift as I don’t have anyone to show me how but what else can I do to help lose more weight? I want to lose about another 24lbs. Should I do circuits? Please help, Kate.

Reply
    Keith - August 28, 2017

    Eat less. Seriously, you can lose 99% of the weight you want to lose with just your diet.

    Reply
Michelle L. - August 9, 2017

Thank you! This article gave me exactly what I needed to know. 1) Do weights first then HIIT and 2) Doing regular cardio on non-HIIT days are not needed. Yes, I’m sure it’ll help but knowing I can have a day of complete rest is nice. Can’t wait to try your “go to” method!

Reply
James - July 18, 2017

Hi, I’ve just started doing HIIT on an elliptical trainer 3 x a week twice a day for 20mins at a time. I am not doing any weight lifting as I am not into that and only looking to lose weight(about 1stone) and keep fit. will this work?

many thanks

James

Reply
Kiera - June 17, 2017

OMG so i have been trying this out and I have done this 2 times one for 20 min and one for 10 min the 10 min one made me drop 4 pounds while the 20 min made me drop 2 all I do is just go to my gym do HIIT on a treadmill for 10 min and then workout my legs arms or abs I love this because I used to go on hour long bike rides and only drop a pound or so the net day

Reply
Kiera - June 14, 2017

Could I do a 10 min HIIT workout on the treadmill before lifting and then another 10 min HIIT workout after?

Reply
    Keith - June 14, 2017

    I mean no one’s stopping you, but I don’t recommend that. It’s usually better to do it after.

    Reply
Soumee - June 13, 2017

I train 2-3 times a week. I am quite fit and in the mid of BMI range. I want to tone my body. Should I do HIIT before or after weights? Thanks in advance! 🙂

Reply
    Keith - June 13, 2017

    I typically recommend after so you’re not exhausted to lift weights after.

    Reply
DTodd - June 3, 2017

I’ve been seriously doing HIIT training for the past 5 months 2-3 days a week. I incorparate after weight training 2 days out of the week. I notice that it helps with my cardio as my run time has started to decrease. Last year prior to doing HIIT, I could not get my run time down. I’m not a big runner, I do runs of 3-5 miles. Thanks for your article. It was very informative.

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Lisa - May 25, 2017

IIf I do 20 min of HIIT cardio on the treadmill 3 times a week do I also have to do my regular cardio?

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Patrick - May 18, 2017

I have an arm injury and can no longer lift, at least for a while. I’ve been doing a 30-60-90 HIIT program on the treadmill Sun-Fri taking Saturday off weekly. I am a truck driver so except for this I barely move all day. I do eat very healthy. Is this an acceptable schedule?

Reply
    Keith - May 18, 2017

    What do you mean by 30-60-90?

    Reply
      Patrick - May 18, 2017

      30 seconds high speed sprint, 30 seconds jogging…60 seconds mid speed run, 60 seconds jogging…90 seconds low speed run, 90 seconds jogging. 10 min warm-up, 5 min cool down. 39 min in all.

      Reply
        Patrick - May 18, 2017

        Forgot to say that u do tgat 30-60-90 up and down 4 times, so, 10 min warm-up with 4 cycles 30-60-90 (24 min) and 5 min cool down. I have been doing that 6 days per week.

        Reply
Lex - April 12, 2017

Great article! Just a couple questions:
You mentioned how great it is for lower body but will sprints be building muscle if I’m not lifting legs? (I’m thinking about sprinters physique)

Also, fed or fasted?

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Bambi - March 26, 2017

Do you have to do the same kind of HIIT every time, or can you do for example one day abs and the next time cardio?

Reply
    Keith - March 26, 2017

    HIIT shouldn’t be your main workout, if possible.

    You should still supplement it with some weight lifting.

    Reply
Warren - February 27, 2017

Hi,
I’m just wondering if there is a heart rate percentage that my heart needs to return to between intervals. I’m currently using an Assault bike (killer) doing 8 rounds of 20 sec on/ 2 min off. I just want to make sure that my HR has returned to a proper range before starting next interval to achieve the best effort result,

Thanks!!

Reply
Elizabeth - February 10, 2017

I was just doing some research on HIIT, and I have to say, this article/HIIT guide made me LOL! Very informative, and very funny! The way you start the article made me LOL! Good stuff—you might consider writing, be it about fitness, or comedy, but likely both- 🙂

Reply
G - February 2, 2017

I’m currently training my glutes by lifting heavy. Is it also possible to do HIIT after training my glutes or is that too extreme?

Reply
    Keith - February 10, 2017

    Should be fine as long as you’re not training lower body the next day.

    Reply

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